If I could have you read on blog post, this would be it

13 Apr

Truthfully, I’d love for you to read all my blog posts, because usually I am blogging for someone else, but today I am just writing to get some things said.

I really hope you will come back tomorrow for the blog post I have scheduled.

Tomorrow is my RubberMoon post and it is a tribute to my mom who would have been 70 tomorrow.

She was born April 14, 1944.

IMG_20140406_173837796 (2)

She passed away in September of 2008.  When I think I have my mom, I still have so much grief and I was comparing it to how I feel about my grandma who passed away in 2002.

My grandma’s death doesn’t have the sting and deep ache like my mom’s does and I wondered why?  With my grandma, we all had ample time to prepare for her death.

She was on hospice care and died at home, my mom’s home, which is where my grandma lived from the time I was about 14 and on.

I wouldn’t say her death was peaceful, but she was ready and it was a relief to have her be at rest.

Fast Forward 6 years, my mom had been hospitalized and was in the ICU.  She wasn’t  a healthy person by any means.  She was very overweight, diabetic and had complications from both diseases.

She was in the hospital for something to do with her heart and her breathing.  They were having a hard time getting her to keep her oxygen levels normal and she was having a lot of trouble breathing.

I had visited her on a Friday night.  We lived about an hour away from where she was in the hospital.  I had 7 kids, ranging from 15 years to 1-year-old at home.  Getting to see my mom wasn’t an easy task.

 But I wanted to see her every day.  I couldn’t be there on Saturday and Sunday proved to be futile also.  I called in and spoke to the nurses but she was always sleeping and promised they’d let her know I couldn’t make it to see her but that I’d called to check on her.

Monday morning I got a call from the hospital letting me know that I needed to get to the hospital immediately, my mom had slipped into a coma and was unresponsive and was on life support.

They told me they could not get a hold of my dad and I needed to contact him as well.  Imaging having this stress on you, lining up child care and then being in control enough to make the hour’s drive alone.

I got to the hospital and met my dad there.  They were just wheeling her away to have a CT scan done.  They brought her back and we waited.  She was just a shell in that hospital bed.

The doctor came in with the bad news, she had suffered a brain aneurysm and was not going to come out of the coma.  The brain had been to badly damaged to ever recover.

We had 2 options, let her live on life support, or follow her wishes and take her off of life support and allow her to pass on.  This wasn’t even a thing to discuss.

 There was no way we could keep her in the vegetative state she was in.

Another doctor came in, a sort of 2nd opinion, and did all the tests they do to confirm that a person is “brain-dead.”

Here is where my heartache begins and never ends.  He checked her eyes, mouth, nose and different nerves, etc.

He lifted the sheet covering her feet and I caught a glimpse of the state her feet were in.  How badly she needed something so simple as a pedicure.

Diabetics tend to have unhealthy feet and hers had gone so long without being cared for, the image will never, ever leave me.

 I have big ol’ crocodile tears running down my face, even typing these words.

But, there is a reason I share this.  I don’t think anyone can ever hear enough that you have to live today like it could be your last.

You do not know when you say goodbye to someone, when you will see them again.

With my mom, I would do anything to have a better memory than the one I have when I close my eyes and I see her poor little feet.

I’d give anything to bathe those feet, clip those toenails, smooth those calluses and paint those toes a shiny bright pink for her.  She so deserved it and couldn’t do it for herself.

So, learn from this…look around you, who do you love?  Is there someone you meant to show kindness to?

Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today, because, tomorrow they could be gone.

Thank you for reading, if nothing else, I needed to get this out.

Please take the time to watch this beautiful video that makes me think of my mom, every time I hear it.

3 Responses to “If I could have you read on blog post, this would be it”

  1. Ellen - CardMonkey April 13, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Dear Jeannie, your blog post about your Mom’s passing is heart-wrenching. And I fully understand about the last vision you had of your Mom, wanting to give her a loving pedicure, and of the dreadful decision following her brain death.

    Twice that I can remember vividly and once before when I was too young to be involved in decisions, my Mom was given last rites, and we prepared for her passing. The first time, she had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy that caused her to lose half her body’s blood and she became septic. The chance of her survival was put at just 2%, and she was that miracle! Astoundingly, she went on to have my baby sister 18 months later!

    Jump ahead thirty years. My husband and I had gone away on a long-awaited European vacation; we left just after Mom had successful surgery to repair a hernia, and while she was at it, she decided to have a tummy tuck to get rid of the scars from the ectopic surgery. She was feeling great enough that her surgeon told her she could come back 10 days later to “sneak in” a facelift on an outpatient basis, that would be done a few days before we got back from vacation. Mom was to pick us up at the airport.

    When we landed, no Mom. Or Dad, or anyone! Had they forgotten us? I just called Mom from England the day before, and she said she’d be there! I called home and got my sister. She said Mom had thrown a pulmonary embolism not long after my call the night before. I should take a cab to the hospital right away — it didn’t look good. Mom was in ICU, her body wrapped head to toe to contain her body’s swelling — an unusual reaction that was causing her to bleed out due to the necessary blood thinners to treat the embolism. She was in shock, and slipping fast. I asked the cab driver to please hurry; I was glad I wasn’t driving myself!

    When I got to the ICU, Mom looked like a mummy, not mommy. She had a tuft of hair sticking up from her head … And then I saw her toes. It was the only part of her body not wrapped in gauze. I held those toes, rubbed her feet, and even loved seeing her corns and calluses because they were steangely comforting and assuring that she was still there. I found her pulse in her toes …and her heart. Her chance of survival was a dismal 5% — and again, she pulled through!!

    The most recent trip with Mom was the most dramatic. To make the long story short, Mom had a stroke. Her basilar artery feeding the brain stem — the “control panel” of the brain — was 98% occluded. By the time my flight to Florida (where she and Dad live) from PA finally landed, Mom was in a coma, blind, deaf, dumb, and quadriplegic on life support. My siblings converged on the ICU too, where Dad was in complete denial, unable to make any decisions for his bride of 60 years.

    Of those who have a brain stem stroke, we were warned that 98% die; of that 2% who live, 95% are severely compromised or “vegetative” permanently. We knew Mom would not want to live like that, and I was the appointed Health Advocate to make these decisions as to what to do. Neurosurgeons presented us with a slim option: deploy a cardiac stent in the tiny, twisting basilar artery to attempt to open it, or pull the plug. We opted for the surgery, unaware what would lie ahead for Mom.

    Remarkably, Mom lived through surgery, and not only that, but her recovery was like a blossom unfolding. Within a week, she had every sense restored by miracle! She could stand, walk, and talk! She used a walker to get to the bathroom. Three days later, she was discharged to rehab; a week later, she went home walking with a cane! All of her fine motor skills returned too — she makes beaded bracelets to stay busy. She is sharp as a tack, has a better memory than I, drives, shops, walks, talks and sings!!

    Mom turns 84 this June. My only regret is that she won’t leave FL, where she swears she sips from the Fountain of youth.

  2. artandalchemy2 April 13, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

    Beautifully written, Jeannie. Thank you for sharing your love for your mom with us.

  3. CherryChick April 20, 2014 at 3:34 pm #



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